How Many Toxic Coal Waste/Coal Ash Sites Are in the US?


Yesterday, I visualized the amount of nuclear waste stored in US states. I thought an interesting follow-up to that would be to visualize where coal ash, which is the toxic byproduct of coal burning, is stored in the US. The US has a total of 738 reported coal ash sites, although that number may be higher due to sites being unreported. As you can see, Texas has the largest amount with almost 50 sites. According to the EPA, "Coal ash, also referred to as coal combustion residuals or CCRs, is produced primarily from the burning of coal in coal-fired power plants." The EPA also states that "Coal ash is one of the largest types of industrial waste generated in the United States. According to the American Coal Ash Association's Coal Combustion Product Production & Use Survey Report, nearly 130 million tons of coal ash was generated in 2014." Because coal ash contains substances like mercury and arsenic, it is paramount that these sites are well maintained and safely quarantines from water sources. You can see the full table below:



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